Ira Winderman: Heat’s Derrick Jones Jr. ‘cool’ wi…

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http://twitter.com/Rachel__Nichols/status/1233530240359636992
But has the increased attention stemming from Saturday night’s memorable victory over Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic changed Jones Jr.? “Man, he walked in and didn’t say nothing to me this morning,” Jimmy Butler joked. “Nah, he’s the same dude. He’s always going to be like that. And I know him: If he goes to the dunk contest next year, he’ll win it again.”
Much like in 2016 when Gordon was the tough-luck loser to two-time champion Zach LaVine, Gordon has spent the past few days dealing with the fall out of an event he’s always thought he was destined to win at some point in his basketball career. In the subsequent four days since the Dunk Contest ended, Gordon has heard from countless numbers of fans, fellow NBA players and celebrities in the music and movie industries about a result they felt was wrong. That, in a weird and twisted sort of way, has helped to soothe Gordon’s disappointment over the results, he said. ``I definitely feel some type of way about it,’’ Gordon said while carefully choosing his words. ``I’m definitely kind of irritated a little bit and a little frustrated, as well. ``But it’s OK, it’s really OK,’’ he added. ``We’ve got to move on because it’s over now. I think it will be talked about for years and years and years, which is really cool. But at the same time, it’s over.’’
We talked to Dr. J -- who was in the building for the dunk contest -- at Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C. on Monday ... and we asked the hoops legend if the Orlando Magic star was robbed by the judges in Chi-town. "I don't know if robbed is the right term, if it had ended in a tie, I don't think anybody would've been upset. But, a contest like that going into basically 2 overtimes. Third overtime. You hate to have a loser." BUT, forced to pick a winner, Dr. J -- who won the inaugural ABA Dunk Contest in 1976 -- says Gordon's final dunk was justtttttttt a little better than Derrick Jones Jr.'s jam. "I think [Gordon's] last dunk was cleaner. Neither one of them were 50's because they had shot their load in terms of their best stuff."

http://twitter.com/Vivek/status/1229180177432760320
It was admirable of 34-year-old Dwight Howard, the 2008 dunk champ, do get back out there with Jones, Gordon, and White Men CAN Jump spokesman Pat Connaughton. Sources said Howard’s Friday night dunk contest practice was drawn out, with Howard having to revise his dunk routine with dunks that he could actually pull off. He posted the lowest single dunk score in Saturday’s contest, with a 41 for jumping, posing with his arms spread, then spinning and dunking. “I was going to put my arms in the rim,” Howard said, when asked what dunk he might’ve done in the finals. “I couldn’t wait to do it. But it’s OK. I’m happy to be here.”
Amid the controversial yet inconsequential finish of the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest, the league veered from the rules to determine Saturday’s winner. Instead of letting the judges vote for either Orlando’s Aaron Gordon or Miami’s Derrick Jones Jr. after the first dunk of the dunk-off in the final round, the NBA allowed Gordon and Jones to attempt a second dunk-off dunk, which isn’t in the rules.
Malika Andrews: Derrick Jones Jr. said that he expected the judges to make it so there would have been a third “dunk off” round after Aaron Gordon dinked over Tacko Fall: “He clipped Tacko’s head, so they couldn’t give him a 50. I expected them to give him a 48 so we could go again.”
Andre Iguodala: The right guy won.... Kenny wasn’t behind the judges table....
Jorge Sierra: No dunk titles for Gordon, but he will get a lot of sympathy out of this. That’s worth something. Nikola Vucevic: That’s worth nothing when you get robbed twice
Karl-Anthony Towns: #DunkContest pic.twitter.com/BBLp9iSVzM

http://twitter.com/KarlTowns/status/1228886910929686528
Ja Morant: judges are wilding 🤦🏽‍♂️
Austin Rivers: Nahhh that’s not cool.... AG been robbed twice now.
Alex Kennedy: Dwight Howard said he would compete in the dunk contest again in the future. He joked that he needs to practice between-the-leg dunks and look more like a small forward next time.
Josh Robbins: Aaron Gordon said during his post-contest press conference he was retiring from the dunk contest. But that shouldn't be interpreted as some kind of protest about tonight's result. In the weeks preceding the contest, Gordon said 2020 would be his final dunk contest.
Nicole Auerbach: I need Ja and Zion in next year’s dunk contest. Ja Morant: nah.
SLAM Magazine: Dwight paying tribute to Kobe on this dunk 🙏🏿🙏🏿 #ATTSlamDunk (via @NBAonTNT) pic.twitter.com/sw5VXbghmu
Tania Ganguli: Dwight Howard's plan on that second dunk was to have Kobe Bryant bring him the Superman cape. Once Bryant did that, Howard planned to show Bryant the 24 on his chest. He said Bryant had agreed to do it.
Chase Hughes: Davis Bertans teared up after the 3PT contest when asked about Kobe Bryant, whom he never met: "Him and his daughter, just seeing that and me having a daughter right now, those emotions that we're having together... it's more about him being a father to his daughters."
SportsCenter: Aaron Gordon says he feels like he should have two trophies and likely won’t do the dunk contest again. (via @Rachel__Nichols)
Gordon also lost the 2016 dunk contest in similarly heartbreaking fashion to Zach Levine. "It’s a wrap, bro," the Orlando Magic forward told reporters afterwards, signaling his dunk contest career is over. "I feel like I should have two trophies. ... Jumping over somebody 7-5 and dunking is no easy feat. What did I get, like a 47? Come on, man. What are we doing?"
Derrick Jones Jr. claimed the Slam Dunk Contest title, out-dueling Aaron Gordon in a thrilling double-tiebreaker dunk-off. Jones’ final slam received a score of 48 to barely beat out Gordon’s score of 47. Gordon’s final dunk saw him leap over 7-foot-5 center Tacko Fall to get the crowd on its feet and send fellow NBA stars on the sidelines into a frenzy. But it wasn’t enough to appease the five-judge panel.
There was no shortage of perfect scores on Saturday night. Gordon had five, two in the first round, two in the second and then one in the dunk-off rounds. His off-the-backboard extended 360 in the bonus rounds drew the most raves, with All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpograbbing Gordon in excitement afterwards. "We're here to do four dunks," Gordon said. "So out of four dunks, it should be the best out of four dunks."
It looked like Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker was headed for his second 3-Point Contest championship. But then Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield got hot, sinking four of his final five shots on his money-ball rack and edging Booker for his first 3-Point Contest title. Hield, who is third in the NBA at 3.8 3s made per game, had 27 points in the final round, outscoring Booker (26) and Washington Wizards forward Davis Bertans (22).
Hield needed to make the final shot to win, and he did. Hield made two of his first five shots, then made 17 of his next 20 from the regular five-ball racks. "I was talking to Book, and Book said he's been in it before, and said he already got one, and that gave me motivation to get one," Hield said. "He said coming every time brings more pressure. As a shooter, you want to win one. Every shooter wants to win one, and I feel like that."
Anthony Chiang: Bam Adebayo dedicated the Skills Challenge trophy to his mother, Marilyn Blount. They even took photos together on stage with the trophy. Emotional moment for both of them.
Often times, players that are at the end of the bench and see "garbage time" minutes are the ones that submit their names to dunk during All Star Weekend. Howard said that he doesn't see that trend reversing itself any time soon. "During All Star weekend, a lot of guys are getting ready for the second half of the season," Howard said. "So it is pretty hard to get those guys to want to be in the dunk contest. But, this is the thing that I enjoy. I have been dunking my whole life basically."
Sarah K. Spencer: Trae Young said he did a couple practice rounds of the 3-point contest when the Hawks were in Cleveland for their last game before the All-Star break. I asked if he won. But he was just competing against himself, trying to get the highest score he could.
USA TODAY Sports: Pat Connaughton admits he’s not as well-known as others in the NBA dunk contest. But he thinks that’s an advantage.
It didn't matter that he didn't win the dunk contest that night (Zach LaVine did). Everything had changed as far as his place in the sport and marketing worlds were concerned. "It took me from a domestic, American-known name to all over the world, people knew who I was," Gordon told ESPN after Thursday night's dunk contest practice session. "After that 2016 dunk contest, people really started to take a liking to me all over the world."
More than three decades later, some details of the classic slam dunk contest showdown between Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins are a bit fuzzy to Hall of Famer Gail Goodrich. One of five judges for the competition, the former Los Angeles Lakers' great is, however, certain of a few things: His Airness soared to a slightly higher level than the Human Highlight Reel, there was no pressure to crown Jordan the slam dunk king on his home court and the judges were not in cahoots. “It was very, very close,” Goodrich said of the competition. “They both performed with excellence. I thought that Michael performed just a little bit ahead of Dominique. I cast my vote for Michael.”
TBS broadcasters Bob Neal, Rick Barry and Steve Jones questioned the judging at the end, with a laughing Jones even half-joking: “Note was passed on to the judges.” Goodrich, however, insisted there was no thumb on the scale favouring Jordan, no pressure from the league. “No, absolutely none,” he said. “Nor did, as judges, we confer with one-another. Not at all.”
It is still the dunk contest by which all other dunk contests are measured: Two stars, at the peak of their powers, the players who finished first and second in that season's scoring standings, going head-to-head to decide a winner. Jordan left the old Chicago Stadium that night with the trophy. To this day, many believe Wilkins was the rightful winner. Either way, it was a never-to-be-forgotten show — and now, for the first time since that night 32 years ago, the dunk contest is returning to Chicago on Saturday night. "I did have a homecourt advantage, yes," Jordan said this week in an interview with The Associated Press. "The fans got their money's worth," Wilkins said in a separate interview with AP.
On Saturday at Chicago’s United Center, the Magic forward will compete in what he promises will be his final dunk contest, a matchup against former contest champion Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers, Derrick Jones Jr. of the Miami Heat and Pat Connaughton of the Milwaukee Bucks. Asked what fans can expect, Gordon provided a simple answer: “I’m gonna win.”
On Saturday at Chicago’s United Center, the Magic forward will compete in what he promises will be his final dunk contest, a matchup against former contest champion Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers, Derrick Jones Jr. of the Miami Heat and Pat Connaughton of the Milwaukee Bucks. Asked what fans can expect, Gordon provided a simple answer: “I’m gonna win.”
Christian Clark: Nicolo Melli already had a vacation planned to the Bahamas when he found out he was a late addition to Rising Stars. “Griff told me at the end of the shootaround. I thought he was joking."
Bucks Forward Pat Connaughton took to social media on Wednesday to recruit a Wisconsin sports star for Saturday night at the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in Chicago. Connaughton is one of four selected for the annual skills competition that's a staple of NBA All Star Weekend. Connaughton tweeted a photo of a note to Christian Yelich that read "Christian, I have a great idea! Meet me in Chicago this weekend. P.C." (Pat Connaughton)
Eric Woodyard: Bucks' Pat Connaughton tells ESPN he's looking to win the dunk contest and has a "few" surprises. "It's not the first underdog story I've had to write," he said. "I'll go into it, I'll have fun with it, but I'll still take it pretty seriously and see what I can do."
The NBA announced the official roster for the All-Star Celebrity Game on Wednesday, with a group that includes Chicago celebrities, basketball stars and recording artists. At the top of the list are Chicago rappers Chance the Rapper and Common, who will serve as captains in the Feb. 14 game at Wintrust Arena and as ambassadors for All-Star Weekend in Chicago. The pair also will perform at halftime of the 69th All-Star Game at the United Center.
The NBA and WNBA will be represented in the game as well as former DePaul and Young star Quentin Richardson and WNBA star Chelsea Gray are set to play on Wilbon’s team. On the other side, former NBA forward Darius Miles, WNBA star A’ja Wilson and former Bears defensive tackle Anthony “Spice” Adams will lace up for Smith’s team.
Mark Medina: Dwight Howard said he got word Kobe Bryant agreed to help him out at the dunk contest. Dwight says it’s “heartbreaking” that couldn’t happen.
David Morrow: 3-point shootout field set: Davis Bertans Devonte' Graham Joe Harris Buddy Hield Zach LaVine Damian Lillard Duncan Robinson Trae Young
JD Shaw: Here are the 2020 All-Star Skills Challenge Participants: Bam Adebayo, Patrick Beverley, Spencer Dinwiddie, Khris Middleton, Derrick Rose, Domantas Sabonis, Pascal Siakam, Jayson Tatum.
Tim Reynolds: The list of 3-point shooters for the contest (I believe all these have been announced along the way): -- Defending champion Joe Harris -- Damian Lillard -- Duncan Robinson -- Trae Young -- Davis Bertans -- Zach LaVine -- Devonte' Graham -- Buddy Hield The new max score is 40.
Storyline: All-Star Contests
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August 17, 2022 | 4:55 am EDT Update
NBA analyst Brian Windhorst discussed the trade situation earlier this week on ESPN’s Get Up. Windhorst inferred that Durant has lost all of the leverage in the trade talks but so did the Nets. “The dynamic around Kevin Durant hasn’t changed at all. There hasn’t been an urgency in trade talks. There hasn’t been a change in strategy by the Brooklyn Nets,” said Windhorst. Windhorst reported, “I think what we have here is really a study of leverage. First off, the Nets do not have leverage in trade talks with other teams. They are not giving them the offers that they want. They see no reason to increase them. So, they’re not making any progress there. Kevin Durant clearly does not have leverage with the Brooklyn Nets. He is asking for things: ‘Get me traded. Fire the coach. Fire the GM.’ He is being told no. So, when you have denied leverage, you have a stalemate.”
While Kevin Durant continues to prefer a trade from the Brooklyn Nets and the trade offers the team has received haven’t satisfied them, the two parties have remained in limbo throughout the offseason. The Nets will continue to listen to trade offers, but they are also hoping Durant changes his mind and gives their team another chance this season. “What’s kind of developed over those 47 days is we now kind of have two different negotiations,” said Brian Windhorst on NBA Today on Tuesday. “One, of course, is with all those teams interested in Kevin Durant and the Nets. We just haven’t seen significant traction with any of those deals. The Nets’ asking price is very high. Their leverage for getting those teams who are interested in offering so much just hasn’t materialized.
“The other negotiation that is now developing is between Durant and the Nets. That separate negotiation about what it would like for him to come back. That’s what a big part of the discussion he had with owner Joe Tsai in London about 10, 11 days ago was. Joe Tsai and the Nets believe they have a really good team. They don’t believe they have a good trade for Kevin Durant. They want him to consider coming back. But Durant has very clearly made it known he doesn’t want to play for the Nets under the current situation with the current coach and current GM.

Speculation ran rampant: pundits and fans alike wondered whether he had any desire to play on the team, whether he’d be the first player in NBA history to turn down a max rookie extension, whether he’d prove one of the most significant busts in NBA draft history. Much of the chatter focused uncomfortably on his size. As he’s so often done during difficult times, Williamson turned to his favorite show for guidance. I ask if there’s a point in Naruto’s story that he feels is synonymous with where he is right now. His answer is immediate. “It’s when Sasuke was going rogue,” he says, referring to Naruto’s close friend and rival. “All of Naruto’s friends and teammates came to him like, ‘Dude, you’re gonna have to make tough decisions if you really want to be Hokage.’”